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[Staff Spotlight] Get to know Laica

Explain your username (and/or avatar).

This is super nerdy, but I created the handle years ago, in my heyday as a Lord of the Rings fangirl. I ended up using one of those name generators that give you a moniker for every race from hobbit to maia. I cringe to admit this, but Laica is a shortened version of my elf name. Over time it’s simply become my alternate online identity. I couldn’t find an image I felt represented me, so I drew the avatar myself—I’m a cat person, and I’ve loved writing since childhood.

What is the first drama that you watched (or the first drama that made an impression)?

Coffee Prince. I started out with Japanese dramas—I stumbled across them when looking for an anime adaptation of the original Boys Over Flowers manga, because my older brother had hooked me on anime in high school. I would watch my dramas on mysoju back then, and Coffee Prince was rated number one for months. I eventually ran out of j-dramas to marathon and gave in to my curiosity. That was 2008, and I’ve never looked back. So I have my Oppa to thank (or blame) for my addiction.

Have you ever lived a moment that you thought belonged in a drama?

I’ve struggled with serious illness for many years, and though things are much better now, I had some close calls. When I was twenty, I was living overseas when I became so ill that my family thought they might lose me. I had to be medically evacuated back to the U.S. on oxygen. We passed through London Heathrow on the way, and a ticketing agent asked my mom, who was pushing me in a wheelchair, “Is that your mother?” (Yup, I’m hoping for a rom-com scenario next time, too.)

What’s your favorite drama that you’ve recapped?

It’s not objectively the best, but Mystery Queen was my favorite of the four I’ve recapped so far. I loved the show’s sense of humor and the way it balanced light and dark moments, and the entire cast’s chemistry was off the charts. I’d look forward to spending my time with Seol-ok and Wan-seung every week, and I couldn’t get enough of them together. I’m crossing my fingers for a second season! 1% of Anything was a close second, for all the squeeing it induced.

What drama genres do you especially like?

I’ve always been a rom-com girl at heart, maybe because I grew up on classic romantic comedies like You’ve Got Mail and Overboard. Hollywood doesn’t make those much anymore, but now I like dramas better. With movies we get a big, romantic declaration, but dramas can give us the small moments in the evolution of a relationship, and I love that. This is why I like family dramas, too, because the character dynamics are usually my favorite part of any show. I also enjoy slice of life, mystery, or sci-fi dramas, though I’m pickier about those.

What drama genres do you especially dislike?

Medical dramas. I find them nearly unwatchable, probably because I’ve spent endless hours in hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Is there a drama character you’ve ever strongly identified with, and why?

Beo-jin from Tamra the Island. I totally empathized with her struggle against suffocating circumstances, her constant daydreaming, and her irrepressible desire to explore the world. Even though she could be immature at times, she had a big heart and lots of love to give, and I’m equally squishy inside, to the point that it sometimes backfires on me. I’ve had my own challenges in life, but I’d like to think that I’m as brave in the pursuit of my dreams as she was.

What drama character would you want to be?

Kim Hye-soo in Signal. She’s simultaneously a badass with deadly aim and a soft-hearted romantic pining for her first love (though she’d probably punch you in the face if you mentioned it to her). I love how smart and capable she is, and how fiercely she protects the people she loves.

What was your major in school?

I double majored in English and Diaspora and Transnational Studies. I’ve always had a book in my hand from childhood until I discovered dramas in university. I’ve also been a nomad my whole life, so I’m fascinated with the idea of home, and of multiple and intersecting belongings.

What’s a random skill you have?

I crochet. I made a blanket for both my niece and nephew when each was born, and I made a queen-sized one for my sister a few years ago.

Favorite non-Korean movie and/or TV show?

As if you hadn’t guessed, The Lord of the Rings trilogy—and yes, that counts as one movie. I can watch it when I’m feeling blue and in need of some courage and hope, or when I’m simply in the mood for some epic swordfights and bromance. My favorite TV show is Firefly, and I will never stop hoping for Season 2. I’m also a big fan of Community and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. *clang clang*

Which Hallyu celebrity would you actually want to meet and spend an hour with?

Jessi. I’ve always liked her in interviews, but I fell in love with her in Season 1 of Unnis’ Slam Dunk. She’s hilariously honest, and I love that she’s not shy about admitting her fears and mistakes. I feel like she’s a marshmallow despite her “tough” rap persona, and she just seems so fun (and funny) to hang out with.

Which of the 7 deadly sins would be your undoing? (Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, or sloth.)

Gluttony, because I love to eat, and I love to cook to feed myself and others. K-dramas have only made my weakness for food greater, because the characters are. Always. Eating. Speaking of which, let me just put some water on for ramyun…

Your favorite drama has an unholy alliance with your most hated drama and produces a mutant baby drama. Describe the plot.

A failed baduk genius gets a temp position at a large corporation, but he crosses the spoiled daughter of the CEO on his first day, and she makes his work life hell. He diligently plugs away and eventually earns the loyalty and respect of his team, particularly his manager. The girl’s just smart enough to be impressed with his persistence, and she starts to fall for him. When CEO Mom finds out that her daughter is crushing on a lowly temp, she fires his whole team, who start their own business. The girl leaves her old life and joins them, vowing to win him over with her sincerity.

 
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I'm also an absolute fan of The Lord of the Rings and count the trilogy as one super long movie. I even enjoy watching the extended version (and yes, all 11-or-so hours of it).

Also love Firefly, Coffee Prince and You've Got Mail. *highfive

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Extended version, FTW! *high five*

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I only watch the extended versions at this point. You just miss so much with the theatrical versions. :)

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IS there another version?! Lol ?

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Extended versions all the way! I also own some (*cough* SEVERAL *cough*) figurines of any characters with horses included in the sets. I also got married not long after the first movie came out, and it influenced my wedding dress style. I think I will include it on my wall, now that I think about it!

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Yesss @Laica I bought those all when they came out for mad moneys...and I was so upset just this past Saturday to see LOTR at Five Below!!!! My only consolation it wasn't the extended version. X'D

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I actually just finished marathoning all three extended edition movies =P

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The extended version is the way to go! I adore The Lord of the Rings. Samwise has some of the best lines.

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LotR! Firefly!
Anybody read Bored of the Rings?

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Amen, LOTR, You've got Mail, Coffee Prince....I even read Silmarillion. Wish they made a tv series on the book with all the little stories like Old Man Willow, Tom Bombadil etc.

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Yes to the Silmarillion!

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I love Silmarillion, as a mythology fanatic from childhood, I find it the best.
It is so great to meet Firefly fans on DB. CandidClown likes it too, right?

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Ugh yes hello fellow Tolkienites. The Sil is my favourite book.

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Woot Lord of the Ring fans unite!
I spent a lot of money on collector's edition dvds, books, video games etc.
I watch the trilogy in one take every winter breaks it's like a family tradition now.

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Dude, you know it's bad when you own the regular original DVD versions, the extended DVD's (all those BTS's!), and the the Bluray editions. So. Much. Money. Well. Spent. I can quote the crap outta that movie. Hahaha. As I bet we all can.

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Yay! Another firefly fan!!! Did you happen to see Nathan Fillion's pic with him and Alan Tudyk in Canada this week with Alan in the drivers seat of a motor boat and Nathan standing behind him reminding us of the series? Nice to know more about you!

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I hadn't seen it, thanks for that! So many feels. (This Canadian approves.)

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That mutant drama actually sounds like a real drama, although I have NO CLUE what dramas they are a mix of. Only High Society comes to mind.

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I think one is misaeng.

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Yes! And the other is Boys Over Flowers. I guess Jun-pyo's gender reversal threw you guys off. ;)

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Ooh.. that's an interesting twist!

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Ahh now that you mention it, it sounds a lot like Boys Over Flowers. I watched that very recently and Geum Jan Di annoyed me more and more as the series went on!

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Would the mutant baby of Misaeng and High Society named An Incomplete Society?

If so, the hardest part by far would be who to cast to play the second lead: Kang Ha-neul or Park Hyung-sik? This is an impossible task!!

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Misaeng and Boys Over Flowers, so maybe Incomplete Boys? Broken Flowers? LOL, this is sounding worse by the minute,

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Haha, Incomplete Boys if it is a coming-of-age heartfelt story, Broken Flowers for a more makjang bent. Judging from your mutant drama pitch, it seems like a mixture of both genres. How about "Incomplete Flower Boys & Co."?

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Now seeing Laica's answer of Boys Over Flowers, it is a no-brainer to pick Kang Ha-neul over Kim Hyun-Joong because I my second lead with acting chops and also a personality.

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*I prefer my*

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Lovely to know more about you, Laica!

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Misaeng and not sure. There's still time for a second series of Firefly. I'm sure of it, Laica. I've loved The Lord of the Rings since I read it as a teenager and thought the films captured that world so well that I love them too. I'll have to take you word for it on Mystery Queen though as I only made to about episode 8 or 9. Thanks for all you re-capping.

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I like the open (with a chance of happy) ending of your mutant drama! Mystery Queen is an enjoyable ride, made more so through your recap and comments. So, if the ramyun's done, let's eat? ^^

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Thanks! Sure, you bring the chopsticks. ;)

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*slurp!

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Firefly!!!!

If they did another season they'd have to resurrect Wash. Sometimes when I'm bored I just think up scenarios how they could do it.

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Whoa such a great idea...I can't imagine Firefly without him :(

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The nice thing about sci fi is you can always find a clone somewhere. #scififorever #IAmALeafInTheWind

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You cannot clone them, what a blasphemy!*

*Why am I so sensitive about this?

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Yay! Coffee Prince, Tamra, and Lord of the Rings. Thanks for letting us know a bit about you!

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As a fellow glutton, have you set your own ramyun doctrine? Are you a firm believer of noodle breakage? Are you an egg scrambler? Do you dress your ramyun with fresh veggies and/or garnish with chopped scallion? Do you savior the usage of pot lid while eating ramyun?

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Haha yes, I have a very exact way of making it: no noodle breakage, I scramble the white but leave the yolk raw, sesame oil and fresh green onion at the end (cut with scissors, as learned from Go Eun-chan). No pot lids. You?

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I learned about the pot-lid power dynamic in Coffee Prince. That drama runs deep!

"Scrambling the white but leaving the yolk raw" -that sounds like some elven magic! I will definitely give it a try.
For me, I like to drop the egg and then have my noodles envelop the whole egg to accelerate the cooking on the outside but leaving the inside runnier.

I am a Shin ramyun devotee, but would like recommendations of other Korean ramyun to try! Thanks Laica!

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That sounds delicious. Shin ramyun, yeah! Or anything Nongshim brand really. I take the egg yolk out early and mix it with my soup, because that makes it kind of creamy (and less spicy).

It cracks me up how much Coffee Prince has influenced our ramyun habits.

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It's nice to know more about you Laica! Like you, I love Lord of the Rings and was addicted to the movies and books for a long time LOL I basically got into k-dramas the same way as you! My friends "forced" me to listen to k-pop and after that I loved it so they also "forced" more to watch a drama. Like you, I don't know if I should thank them or blame them for the addiction that soon followed.

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Hahaha, it's a curse I tell you.

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And here i was, thinking that your username is from "Underworld". Whenever i see the name, the movie always comes to mind.

Hi @Laica? So nice to meet you. I can't imagine what you went through but thank God you came out of it in one piece.
And your deadly sin, i think it's something i'd never want to repent for.

Your mutant drama has confused me.

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Thank you Martin.

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You're the DB staff that I can relate to the most, because :
Anime fan - check
poor health - check (although yours is serious, I just have weak immunity so i get sick pretty easily & something like a common cold can escalate into a terrible fever,me fainting & a week long stay at the hospital)
favorite drama is mystery queen & 1% of anything - check
dislike of hospitals - check
Nice to know you Laica :-)

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oh & one parent of the mutant baby is BOF for sure, who can forget the disapproving rich mom :-P

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I'm glad you can relate, but I'm sorry to hear about your health. Be well!

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You sound like a lovely soul! ❤️ Nice getting to know you Laica ?

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Laica! ❤️

Sending love always :)

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And to you! ❤

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Nice to meet you Laica! Likes LOTR, kdramas and kitties?? Bam. Instant friend.

And Misaeng is the greatest drama ever made. Hands. Down.

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Agreed on all counts, friend!

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There was a terrible fan war during my high school days when LOTR and HP movies came out. I still maintain that HP is a great book for starting people on reading, but in the movie adaptation department, LOTR wins.

I feel bad knowing you like rom-coms but always get thrillers to recap! But it was fun watching Mystery Queen with you and the other beanies. :D

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LOTR wasn't nominated/won multiple Academy Awards for nothing. It is an amazing series of films and an excellent adaptation. The first movie being the best IMO.

The LOTR books are a great, but HP books are much more accessible to the general public (and one of the few books I will actually read more than once).

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HP for books, LOTR for movies. And I agree with you UmbrellaMan, very re-readable.

Aw, thanks mary! At least Mystery Queen was half a rom-com. (I'll be waiting for the other half.) I'm glad you watched with us. ❤

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Seconding HP for books, LOTR for movies! HP movies are nothing compared to the awesomeness that are the books!

And I loved LOTR books but there were many dry spells with long winded explanation of what the world looked like etc and I much preferred the movies with their fast paced cinematography! :)

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Totally agree :)

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Your explanation is spot-on!

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I was/am a huge fan of the HP books so when I watched the first movie I was so, so, so, SO extremely disappointed when they left out many of the things I loved from the books...so I actually only watched that one. I preferred to stick with the books and my imagination.
I also love the LOTR books/movies, but you're right! The movies are absolutely fantastic, and I think they did a great job condensing every detail into only 3 movies

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HP for books, LOTR for movies!! This exactly how I see it. Always. Forever. I did enjoy the HP movies, but they're not as awesome as the books. I actually wish Peter Jackson did HP films instead. hehe! LOTR movies, on the other hand, SO.DAMN.EPIC.

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Talk about fan wars...I was pretty much the only Tolkien fan against three or four hardcore HP fans. It went on for about two years before settling down. Since then, I've read HP, but they still haven't read LotR. Their loss.

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Don't mean to start another war but the last HP book and movies were both disappointment for me. And thats coming from somebody who spent hours standing in line to get the 5th, 6th and 7th on first day of release. HP in itself is a great series of books and amazingly witty writing and excellent imagination power. I read HP first and LOTR later. But J. K. Rowling is no J. R. R. Tolkien and that's a fact in both scope of their books and the world they built. As a whole, HP falls in a completely different group and for me the 4 th one is the best.
As for LOTR, the good thing they did was back to back shoot to finish all there at once with pick up shoots prior release. Given the amount of stories they had in the books, it helped to keep the material cohesive. That helped the story telling and obviously wasn't possible with HP. But both are books that I enjoy reading immensely from time to time.

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.... *thinks about her steadily growing collection of everything Tolkien has ever written and how she wishes she could use the term 'entish malediction' more often*
*goes and hides under the unpopular opinions table*

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Oh, this is hella interesting!
Coffee Prince was also my first drama...it kind of cured me of my extremely unhealthy anime addiction (I also got addicted to kdramas later, but that's a whole other story haha) and Gong Yoo oppa has basically been my only oppa ever since (this was an issue with a Korean friend of mine who wanted me to stop calling him by his name and start using oppa instead...he didn't succeed).
I'm also battling a sucky, serious illness (I'm currently "on vacation" before re-starting treatment) so I'm sending you all my good vibes and love!!
I studied English Literature and also think Cha is one of the most badass women I've ever seen! Seriously, my love for that woman...
Oh, also, I thought your avatar was a cat brushing her teeth heh.

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Thank you! We have lots in common. Sending you best wishes for a speedy recovery. K-dramas certainly help, don't they? As does Gong Yoo Oppa. :)

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They do! Such a great way of getting disconnected from the world ^^
I think Gong Yoo oppa helps with anything and everything haha

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Are you from Nor Cal by any chance?? That's the only place I ever hear "hella". ?
Get well soon!!!!

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I'm from Costa Rica, actually! Haha...since English is my second language I tend to use words from different places so maybe next time someone will ask me if I'm from the UK, heh.

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@natzillagorilla Coffee Prince was not my first k-drama. It was Princess Hours where I liked Yoon Eunhye so I decided to watch Coffee Prince. Lo and behold, I finally found my very first K-drama crush (and still in the top of my list today), Gong Yoo!! Coffee Prince is such a K-drama classic. I watch it even now and it does not feel like it's 10 yrs old already.

I hope your treatment is going well.

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It's timeless! And so is he <3
I always rewatch it with friends I try to convert to Kdramaism and it seriously never fails to grab people's attention and hearts ^^

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Great to know a bit more about you, Laica! Thank you for sharing.

It was certainly fun watching Wan-seung and Seol-ok in Mystery Queen and your recaps made it more enjoyable. Now let's see if that second season actually happens. *crossing fingers also*

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@laica Hope you are all well now and remain healthy in future!
It was nice getting to know a little more about you! :)

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Woot! Fellow Browncoat!!!!
And thank you for disliking medical dramas!! My mum loves them so much and tried to make me watch Romantic Teacher Dr Kim with her! She only let me off after I persistently corrected the unrealistic hospital/medical scenarios episode after episode...

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Laila, your mention of Mysoju brings back a lot of memories! I also used to marathon dramas from that site (Jdrama "Pride" was my crack). Thankfully due to Mysoju, I was able to watch a lot of older J and K dramas that are very hard to find now. ?

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Pride! Still my favorite j-drama ❤

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Haha, yup! Laica's journey to kdramas was exactly my own, jdramas to mysoju to coffee prince to constantly trying out kdrama after kdrama in search of that coffee prince high!

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Oh... Mysoju! My go to site way way back. Feel a little nostalgic.

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Love Hollywood romcom movies. I re-watch Sandra Bullock's While You were Sleeping so often if the weather here gets too hot (way to chill with its background in Chicago winter hahahahaha)...
Agree with you, Kim Hye soo is my ultimate girl crush!
Above all things, I wish you a very good health, Leica, so we can fangirl TLLOTR together! Ahem, particularly, Legolas.

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I love While You Were Sleeping too. 90s Hollywood romcoms were the best.

Thank you!

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@laica @elvira OMG I so LOVEEEE While You Were Sleeping. It's a must that I watch it every Christmas. I have been doing it for years since I first saw the film way back in high school.

I so agree that the 80s-90s Hollywood rom-coms were the best. They don't do those films anymore and that makes me sad. Very sad. Good thing I have VHS, VCD, and DVD collection of the old films. I always go back and watch them and they still give me flutters.

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????

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❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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Hi Laica! I've been a fan of your thoughtful comments for years, and I remember when you debuted as a guest-blogger on Thundie's Prattle. It's not always the case, but your comments often mirror my own thoughts/responses. I'm so happy to hear that things are better on the health front and that you were able to join the band of merry minions.

P.S. Your avatar is adorable and that's so cool that you drew it!

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Hi @risaa! Thank you so much! I'm humbled and touched that you've been following my writing. And thank you for the well wishes. I've noticed a couple of your comments and I think we're on the same wavelength too. So nice to "meet" you! :) (And sorry for the delayed response!)

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Your drama addiction story sounds almost identical to mine! You're a very interesting person, Laica.

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Wow! First Lord of the Rings and then Coffee Prince aaand then old-school Hollywood rom-com?! Soul sister? hehe! NIce to meet you, Laica. Confession: Whenever I read your name I think of Leica lens. hehe!

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Phuahaha mysoju! How I miss it! That was my go to site for what felt like foreverrrr

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Chingu! I sympathize with the "LotR fangirl username from the 'glory' days of middle school", ha! *points to username*

All my favorite scenes in the movies are from the extended edition. I only wish there were extended-extended editions. I've watch every second of the BTS and Making of video on those DVDs, too, and I wish there were more! (And I can't believe that was almost TWENTY years ago!)

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Twenty years? Wow, time flies!

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Oh man I've also watched all the extended and DVD extras. So many good memories. And LOL, we're so old! :')

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I'm a little bit late to this, but: eeee how did I never know you were an LotR nerd hoowwwww? And now that you've said it, duh, your name is TOTALLY an elf-name!

Love! ❤️❤️❤️

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LOL I've exposed my hidden nerd-dom for all to see! ❤️❤️❤️

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Nice to meet you Laica
Another coffee Prince lover and medical drama hater
I like you
Let's be friends *grin

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Nice to know you better, Laica. I enjoyed your recaps a lot. Is there a drama in progress you would like to recap next?

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Thanks @allphryne. I'm currently recapping (and loving) Forest of Secrets! Hoping for a rom-com next. ;)

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Are you? That´s such a treat.

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Another Firefly fan :)

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@Laica,

Pleased to meet you. I've often wondered about your handle, and am relieved to learn that it is an abbreviated elvish name. I thought it was maybe a variant on Laika, the name of the Russian space dog.

Having grown up in the days before CGI, I'm more a fan of JRR Tolkien's writings than the movies. That's what happens when you have to imagine everything in your mind's eye. On the other hand, you can cast whomever you want in the roles -- and just now I suddenly had the wacky idea that I could populate Middle Earth exclusively with my faves from Kdramaland. *Oooo, shiny*

COFFEE PRINCE has a special place in my Kdrama heart, too. I started out watching sageuks (er, more precisely, a "fusion" sageuk, as in "meltdown" -- DR. JIN!). I'm pretty sure that CP was my gateway Kdrama rom-com. Between the show's incredible use of background music, tomboyish Everywoman Eun-chan, the crew of handsome barista, and Gong Yoo's immortal turn as Han Gyul with his devastatingly touching "alien" monologue, I was a goner.

Thanks for your contributions to DramaBeans! Be well. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake Haha nope, not named after a Russian space dog, or the animation company that made Kubo and the Two Strings.

I'm intrigued by the idea of LOTR with Korean casting. Lee Jun-ki would have to be Legolas, is all I know. And Gong Yoo for Aragorn, after that epic grimy sword-swinging in Goblin.

Thanks for your well wishes. I enjoy your comments whenever I see them! See you around ;)

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me tooooo.. "non-korean"thing that i like are LOTR and HP

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Thank you all for your kind words. As expected, Beanies are the best! ❤️❤️❤️

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Hi Laica! Don't feel embarrassed of your love for LOTR. I have a friend who taught himself Elvish. Beat that!

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